by Emily Reuben
Warning: This review may contain spoilers for all previous episodes of this series.
The second episode of Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga shows far more promise than the previous entry. Rin and his classmates arrive at a temple in Kyoto where the Right Eye of the Impure King is being protected, while Yukio stays in Tokyo to further investigate the Left Eye’s disappearance. The particular temple that houses the Right Eye happens to be the home of three of Rin’s classmates, Bon, Shima, and Konekomaru, which allows for interesting exploration of the backstories and relationships that they have with each other and their families.
Instead of simply showcasing Rin’s exclusion from his group of friends, “Strange Bedfellows” makes an effort to show the extent of the character’s emotions toward Rin. It can become quite grating to watch the protagonist become alienated with little to no development other than, “we’re afraid of you, therefore you are dangerous, and we can’t talk to you”. Here certain characters begin taking the appropriate steps to remedy the problem instead of just acknowledging the problem exists. Though there are still characters who would rather ignore the problems they have with Rin, like Konekomaru and the other exorcist in training, Shiemi.
More importantly, “Strange Bedfellows” provides the opportunity to showcase dilemmas faced by the people surrounding Rin. For instance, it appears that exorcist prodigy and rival of Rin, Bon, has something of a score to settle with his father, who is the leader of the temple where the exorcists are staying. As the episode progresses, it becomes clear that the issues that Rin is facing are secondary, as this is really Bon’s episode. There are more flashbacks in this episode, but instead of showing events from previous episodes, the flashes reveal what life was like at the temple before Bon and his friends went to True Cross Academy with a particular emphasis on the relationship between Bon and his father. Unlike the previous episode, it is nice to receive backstory that progresses the story rather than just retelling past events.
What this episode lacks in compelling combat scenes, it provides in ample quantities of character development. Though Rin isn’t predominantly featured, the scenes with him are by far the strongest. Season one was geared more towards action with much less of a focus on the development of relationships outside of a few key characters, so to see more of an emphasis on character development for a wider swath of characters in Kyoto Saga is encouraging.
By the end of the episode it is clear to the audience and even to some of the characters that there is more to be found in the way of similarities than differences in the intrepid group of demon slayers in training.
All Images From: Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga
Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga, Episode 2 – Strange Bedfellows
"Strange Bedfellows" does a great job of further developing characters that have gone previously unexplored, while allowing for small instances of comedy and impact emotion to naturally bloom. What lacks in action is made up for in character.